Novartis says no plans to cut thousands of jobs

ZURICH, Nov 21 (BestGrowthStock) – Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG
(NOVN.VX: ) has no plans to slash thousands of jobs, a spokesman
for the company said on Sunday, rebutting a Swiss newspaper
report.

Sunday newspaper Sonntag said Novartis was planning a
cost-cutting programme similar to cross-town rival Roche Holding
AG (ROG.VX: ), quoting two unnamed sources close to Novartis
management.

“I do not know who the company’s sources are but we do not
plan a programme similar to Roche’s,” Novartis spokesman Eric
Althoff said.

Roche, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, said on
Wednesday it would slash 4,800 jobs worldwide, hacking 2.4
billion Swiss francs ($2.5 billion) from annual costs.
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Novartis, maker of high blood pressure drug Diovan, set out
its long-term strategy on the same day but remained tight-lipped
about job cuts, only saying it wanted to cut costs in
manufacturing, marketing and sales, and procurement, in an
effort to improve profitability.

Sonntag reported a massive cost-cutting programme would be
announced but Althoff said he could not confirm this
information.

The pharmaceutical industry is struggling as patents for
some best-selling drugs expire and price pressures rise in the
United States and Europe.

Novartis will have to deal with a number of key drugs such
as multi-billion dollar seller Diovan losing patent protection
over the next few years.

Germany’s Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE: ) announced a 1 billion euro
($1.4 billion) cost-cutting programme this week in response to
government austerity measures and generic competition.
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(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by David Holmes)
($1=.7158 Euro)
($1=.9607 Swiss Franc)

Novartis says no plans to cut thousands of jobs